Wednesday, May 25, 2022




Translating from one language to another poses challenges because some words or phrases don’t have a simple translation. The word “epalagoso”  in Spanish, for example; a word that can not be directly translated into English. Although its direct translation means “sweet”, it’s not the syrupy soft sweet that melts on the tongue, rather it is an overwhelming, uncomfortable sweetness. 

A challenge for bilingual LGBTQ+ individuals is deciphering our experiences using mostly English oriented words and phrases. The translation can get messy. So, here are some helpful LGBTQ+ terms and phrases in Spanish to help broaden your Spanish vocabulary. 

  • Orientación sexual (Sexual orientation)
  • ¿Qué pronombres utilizas? (What are your pronouns?) 
  • Lesbiana (Lesbian) 
  • Gay (Gay) – se dice con una enfasis en la G
  • Arromántico (Aromantic) 
  • Asexual (Asexual) – se dice con una enfasis en la A
  • Bisexual (Bisexual) – se dice con una enfasis en la B 
  • Género (gender)
  • Género binario (Gender binary)
  • Identidad de género (Gender identity)
  • Género fluido (Gender fluid)
  • Asignación masculina/femenina al nacer (Assigned male/female at birth) 
  • Binarismo de género (Gender binary structure)
  • Transición (Transition)
  • Transgénero (Transgender)
  • Hombre transgénero (Transgender man) 
  • Mujer transgénero (Transgender woman)
  • Cisgénero (Cisgender)
  • Cuestionándose (Questioning)
  • No binario (Non-binary)
  • Sacar del clóset (Outing)
  • Salir del clóset (Coming out) 

Another helpful tool towards being inclusive is learning to use the X and E at the end of Latine(x), whichever you are asked to use or want to use. This is simply an option, one to take or not take depending on your comfort level.

The X is used in the same way that the E is. The letters are not for changing object genders, such as “la silla” because that is not the point of the gender-inclusive form. The point is to use it to be mindful of non-cis people in Spanish. 

The E comes from the pronoun, Elle. It can be seen in the word  “gente” which means people, a lovely, genderless word. Often heard in the phrase “mi gente”, meaning my people. 

With the example sentence “yo soy alto”, if spoken by a male-identifying person, changing it into the Elle form would look like this:  

Yo soy alte/ Elle se alte  – I am tall/ They are tall

In an additional example: “they are a writer/ I am a writer”

Elle es un escritore/ Yo soy un escritore

Although it may take some getting used to, the Elle pronoun can be easily integrated into your Spanish, all you need is some practice. These terms, of course, are not nearly enough to have a full and round LGBTQ+ friendly vocabulary in Spanish but they are a great place to start. GLAAD and the National LGBT Health Education Center have helpful resources in Spanish to navigate being either a good ally or learning the ropes for yourself. A good Latinx-based resource is Somos Familia which even has a helpful slide show on how to come out to your family in Spanish. 

It is possible to be inclusive and accepting of everyone in the LGBTQ+ community in our cultures and Spanish language. All we need is to do the research and implement it into our daily vocabulary. ¡Vamos mi gente, si se puede!